Office of Learning and Information Technology
CIO Council Meeting Notes
September 25, 2013
Pyle Center, UW-Madison
CIOs and their Representatives
Tom Jordan of the Identity and Access Management Technical Advisory Group (IAM TAG) reported that the purpose of the multi-factor authentication effort is to bring strong authentication to about 2,800 HR professionals across the UW System (UWS) using fobs that provide one-time-passwords as part of the Symantec VIP ID protection service.
The project is wrapping up full life cycle testing. Initially, fobs will be distributed to the early adopters at the UW Service Center, UW-Eau Claire, UW-Whitewater and UW-Milwaukee. This phase will run until the end of October.
The Local Registration Authorities (LRAs) at the UWS institutions have been contacted and received offers for training. The UW Digital ID team is working with the LRAs to determine if site visits are necessary during the rollouts to the remaining UWS institutions in November and the first half of December.
Multifactor authentication will be needed for access to both the Human Capital Management (HCM) and Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) databases through the web portal. Routine time and labor entries will not require fobs.
UW Technology and Information Security Council Update
Chris Liechty reported that the UWS Technology and Information Security Council (TISC) worked to prepare the UWS institutions for the email blast that announced the Health Insurance Marketplace associated with the Affordable Care Act. TISC is also about to release recommendations that will be sent to the HR directors to aid in formatting email messages from third parties so that they do not appear to be phishing attempts. The FoxWorld Travel Concur single sign-on process doesn’t adhere to the Wisconsin Federated ID procedures. The vendor intends to SAMLize the process by the end of the calendar year.
TISC will be meeting at the fall IT Management Council (ITMC) meeting to discuss security baseline recommendations and to engage with other breakout groups. TISC is endeavoring to remain in sync with other CSRG projects. A proof of concept effort will focus on preparing one piece of security awareness media that can be branded by each UWS institution. There are no particular activities planned for October Security Awareness Month.
Chris Hopp reported that he has been in daily contact with VMware regarding contract pricing and volumes. The UWS institutions are indicating that they may require fewer “tokens” for VMware products and services than initially estimated. UW-Madison may purchase extra tokens up front to keep sufficient volume in the contract. Therefore, it will be important that future VMware purchases by the UWS institutions go through the agreement. In the meantime, VMware will not pull any existing maintenance contracts if negotiations for the new agreement are not completed by the end of current contracts. Licenses activated under this contract will begin when they are deployed, not all at the same time.
Ruth Ginzberg reported that wrinkles continue to occur in the negotiations with Adobe. The agreement should be finalized soon. The pricing is still at the levels Brian Kishter discussed with each of the UWS institutions.
The ImageNow contract was extended for one year. During that time, a system-wide group will work on requirements and longer-term options.
Chip Eckardt reported that a project to track student course completions will run in parallel with the Central Data Request (CDR) Redesign effort. Federal funding is available if the project is completed by the deadline. The CDR Redesign is funded by the Common Systems Review Group (CSRG) through this fiscal year and next, but only limited PeopleSoft technical resources available from the MILER team. Some of the functional users at the UWS institutions are saying they are currently too busy to devote time to the CDR Redesign even though the project promises long-term benefits. Both projects are slated to finish by next summer so that data can be collected for the fall 2014 semester.
2013-14 MOR Cohort
Susan Washburn of MOR Associates discussed the assessment of last year’s IT Leaders Program (ITLP) and subsequent changes for this year. The coaching situation is being improved by recruiting volunteers from the program alumni on the same campuses as the new participants. Group projects will not be solicited this year. Instead, the participants will be asked to apply what they are learning during the program at their institutions.
Learn@UW Beginning of Semester Update
Peter Mann reported that the start of the fall 2013 term went well for the Desire2Learn (D2L) Learning Management System (LMS.) There were more than 2M login attempts during the first nine days of classes. There were some isolated service issues and post incident reviews are being conducted.
Chip Eckardt reported that the incoming students who are using smartphones in preference to laptops are unhappy with the functionality of the mobile version of the D2L interface. Mann reported that similar feedback has been reported from other UWS institutions and it has been forwarded to the Desire2Learn company. The upcoming survey of faculty and instructional staff will solicit more feedback on the mobile functionality.
Blackboard Collaborate provisioning via U-Portal
Peter Mann reported that Blackboard Collaborate functionality was launched within the My UW System portal on August 15th. Announcements went to the Blackboard Collaborate Administrators and CIOs at each UWS institution. The intent is to provide unfettered access to faculty and staff. Support and documentation are available. Mann reported that 51,000 Collaborate sessions with 150,000 attendees took place between August 2010 and August 2013.
Elena Pokot related that a subset of the CIO Council attempted to use Collaborate for a meeting and each of them had start-up problems related to downloading Java and activating certain webcams. Nick Dvoracek suggested a longer setup window be available before the start of a Collaborate session. He also recommended that participants select their audio and video inputs before starting their Collaborate sessions and that they use headphones to ensure adequate echo cancelling.
Mann reported that most people use the voice over IP functions that are integrated within Collaborate. There is also the option to use either the associated long distance telephone service or WisLine. Elena Pokot suggested the addition of a feature by which the conference convener could call out to the remote users and bear the phone costs.
Jacques du Plessis inquired about the functionality of Microsoft Lync vis-à-vis Collaborate. Werner Gade reported that some at UW Colleges prefer Lync for meetings because they find it easier to set up. UW Extension staff prefers to use Google Hangouts for their meetings. Dvoracek recommended Collaborate as a better instructional tool. Chip Eckardt observed that videoconferencing is like word processing in the mid-1980’s, a plethora of competing products and features. Ilya Yakolev envisions a federated environment whereby people could easily identify and contact their peers at another UWS institution.
Ruth Ginzberg reminded the CIO Council that Collaborate was procured with FERPA and other regulatory compliances in mind in contrast to third party services that are available on the Internet.
Learn@UW Executive Committee Update
Chris Clements, the chair of the Learn@UW Executive Committee, reported that a three-year contract for D2L was negotiated with optional one-year extensions at the request of the UWS provosts. The company will provide lifetime access to students’ e-portfolios after they graduate via the Amazon Cloud. Licensing of the student learning analytics tool is included with the renewal. Every year the company will provide evidence of third-party security testing.
A small-scale pilot to look at an alternative learning management system resulted in positive feedback but not an overwhelming case to migrate away from D2L.
An availability and continuity task force led by David Dumke was charged to look at historical service issues and make to recommendations. They found that outages were primarily the result of inadequate quality assurance by the vendor and deficiencies in the architecture of the product. Fewer outages were the result of human factors, DoIT shared services and the web services at the UWS institutions.
Dumke’s task force recommended that additional quality assurance and testing be routinely conducted by D2L and the Learn@UW utility. In the event that a UWS institution experiences a continuity of operations (COOP) incident, they will rely upon D2L to keep instruction going, which argues for increased redundancy and disaster recovery. Faculty should also take steps to ensure the continuity of their own classes. Course content storage needs are outstripping the capacity of D2L and the purge tool is being tested. Potentially hosting D2L offsite would require a Request for Proposals (RFP).
John Krogman noted that the need for improved backup data center facilities has been noted by numerous parties. UW-Madison is exploring options, and any solution will cost millions of dollars. Lorie Docken asked Krogman to put together a one-page summary of talking points regarding the magnitudes of the issues.
A faculty needs and satisfaction survey will take place in early spring 2014. A subcommittee will be formed to put together a roadmap for academic systems and a study group will look at integrating academic technologies.
Ilya Yakolev inquired about the use of Chalk and Wire and Taskstream for e-portfolios. UW-La Crosse has moved away from Taskstream to the D2L e-portfolio service. Nick Dvoracek reported that use of a Pearson tool is mandated by Department of Education for teacher licensing and importing from D2L has not been an option.
A five-year strategic budget that considers administrative and academic systems separately is under development for the Common Systems Review Group (CSRG.)
Doug Wahl explained that the CSRG budgeting process started earlier this year to ensure that proposals would be received in time for adequate review. Five-year budget estimates are requested from each project because the chancellors and Chief Business Officers (CBOs) are frustrated by the size of the current and projected costs of the UWS Common Systems. Going forward, quarterly reports from the projects will be distributed via dashboards.
The CSRG is interested in benchmarking the UWS Human Resources System (HRS) and Shared Financial System (SFS) vis-à-vis other universities. The CSRG will discuss this matter tomorrow in preparation for handing the benchmarking effort over to the Executive Committee for Enterprise-Wide Administrative Systems.
Mohamed Elhindi inquired about the fate of the CIO Council’s recommendations regarding strategies to reduce the costs of Common Systems. Lorie Docken explained that the benchmarking exercise is an initial response to those recommendations. Awareness is growing on the part of the CBOs regarding the need to separate operational costs from academic investments.
UW Flex Degree
Ed Murphy reported that he will be going back to central IT within UW Colleges and transitioning his IT leadership duties for the Flex Option to Andrea Deau.
There is an RFP posted on VendorNet for a new Student Information System (SIS) that has a deadline of tomorrow. Public vendor demonstrations will be held in Madison and broadcast remotely during the first two weeks of November to ensure that the qualified bidders have the capability to handle competency-based programs.
Amendments to the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) RFP will be posted shortly and responses will be due on October 24th. One-day demonstrations for the qualified bidders will be held the second week of December. The goal is for both contracts to be awarded and for work to begin in early in 2014.
Flex 1.0 will begin on November 18th with the acceptance of applications for admissions for the first cohorts of students into four programs at UW-Milwaukee and one program at the UW Colleges. Academic activities will begin on the first of the calendar year for a three-month subscription period. Enrollments will be limited and capped to phase in the programs and work out the specific operational details. There will be at most ten new students per program per month.
All of the applicants’ data will be stored in the UW Colleges PeopleSoft tables and appropriate extracts will be sent to the participating institutions as necessary. Discussions are underway to facilitate this process at UW-Milwaukee.
A document imaging service agreement is being set up with DoIT, similar to the one they already have with UW-Milwaukee.
Operational teams at UW-Milwaukee and the UW Colleges are discussing how to set up their student information systems to handle the Flex students. UW-Milwaukee has performed some initial testing that includes creating, admitting, enrolling and billing a Flex student. Student identity management issues related to Flex are now being discussed with the IAM TAG.
General student support services are being scoped. Academic Success Coaches (similar to advisors) will be the go-to people for the Flex students.
Working groups have been put together at each participating institution to determine how services such as ID cards, parking passes and library services will be offered to the Flex students.
In response to a question from Ilya Yakolev, Laura Kite acknowledged that the Flex Option may some day need funding support, either directly or indirectly, from the CSRG, e.g., expanding the CDR reporting.
The UW Colleges are drafting the requirements for an RFP for hosting SIS services. The goal is to create template language that other UWS institutions could use to move enterprise applications into the cloud. There are likely to be database license issues because the hosting hardware would not be owned by a UWS institution.
Bruce Maas reported that he met with the public information officers from the UWS institutions and provided them with a one-page fact sheet regarding the UWS network issues. He encouraged them to talk with their CIOs because each institution is important in delivering a common message. The talking points include building a world-class network for the UW System over 14-18 months without negatively impacting WiscNet’s customers. The new UWS network will run side-by-side with WiscNet and cost about 64% more than prior services over a 5-year period. There will be a legislative briefing on October 1 and a meeting with partner networks and vendors has been scheduled for October 2. The UWS Chancellors will be briefed on Friday and encouraged to voice their support.
Elena Pokot recalled that various ideas for network governance were floated at the UWS network forum on September 10th. John Krogman noted that the CIO Council has always been the de facto governance group for the network. Its role could be formalized, perhaps with the aid of a technical advisory group. Mohamed Elhindi questioned whether the CIO Council would be sufficiently nimble and flexible during the network transition. Krogman explained that UW-Madison will be engaging with technical staff at the other UWS institutions as needed and will not be collecting issues for a monthly meeting of any group. By consensus, the CIO Council will be the executive governing group and will set up regular conference calls. Elena Pokot will draft a charter for the technical advisory group.
Lorie Docken explained that the CBOs will be reviewing the total cost of ownership for the network and building a sustainable funding model. Mohamed Elhindi and Chip Eckardt recommended funding the network outside of the Common System process.
Internet2 Membership Pilot for UW System institutions
Bruce Maas has engaged with Internet2 regarding membership for the entire UWS. Currently, only UW-Milwaukee and UW-Madison are full members. Internet2 is already doing membership experiments with two other university systems and has offered the UWS a proposal. Lorie will provide some draft scenarios that will outline assessment options for system-wide membership.
Update on ITMC and New Direction
Chip Eckardt reported that the IT Management Council (ITMC) semi-annual conference will have a contiguous block of meeting rooms to simplify conference logistics. A tabular agenda will be published so that attendees can pick and choose sessions from different tracks. The conference will run past noon on the second day to accommodate inter-institutional collaboration sessions until 3:00 pm. The CIO Council will begin meeting at noon on the second day.
Elena Pokot recommended a panel session on how the UWS institutions are engaging students to provide advice on technology needs. Michael Schlicht reported that the networking professionals are considering meeting in conjunction with the ITMC, but some might want to attend multiple breakout groups.
October 2013 CIO Council Meeting
Since the next regularly scheduled CIO Council meeting falls during the EDUCAUSE Conference, Lorie Docken will reschedule a teleconference for a different date.
Meeting dates, Directory of UW CIOs, Meeting Summaries: